Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Echinacea: One Seed Chicago

I love to blog about native plants.

You likely read elsewhere that if you live in metro Chicago you can vote for the native plant of your choice of three native/ prairie plants in a poll for the most popular. Area residents will receive seeds of the winning plant. Read about it and vote (if you're in the Chicago area) here:

It is interesting to me to see that Echinacea is listed as a plant no longer seen in gardens in Chicago. I thought it a native that everybody would grow, being a pollinator, attractive and long-lasting. I'm not trying to sway your vote, if you are a Chicago-area resident. Echinacea just happens to be the one I would vote for if the voting was nation-wide.

The other two plants in the poll are bee-balm and nodding onion. Bee-balm has its fans. I prefer to see it growing in the wild rather than in my garden. Nodding onion is not familiar to me. Perhaps others will blog about these two.


Echinacea in my garden in 2008, with a multitude of flying friends visiting.
After May, the butterflies move on to other nectar plants.

Easy from seed, my first Echinacea were from Ms. Billie's garden. She pulled up plants whose blooms had faded, telling me, "Here, put these in your garden and they will grow." I divided and planted them. Now I collect ripe seed heads, smooshing them into the soil where I want them to grow, leaving the rest for birds to eat.

If you're from Chicago, go vote at the above site. If not, beg an Echinacea seed head or two from a friend to start your own plants from seed.


  1. They don't grow Echinacea in Chicago?? Talk about a prophet in his own country, etc etc... I would describe it as one of the most fashionable plants in the world today!

  2. I love the native ones too! I hope you don't mind if I copy your idea and do a piece on Missouri's 4 echinaceas which are being threatened by herbalists harvesting them for the medicinal properties of their roots.

    I may expand an do a few other natives that I am familiar with.

  3. Beautiful flower. I have never seen this flower, however, I have googled it (I love to google new plants) and it seems that it is used in medical purposes.

  4. I love having Echinacea in the garden...have a mix of Rudbeckia and Echinacea that is a butterfly and goldfinch magnet.
    My Echinacea in the front yard unfortunately got Aster Yellows and I had to get rid of a large percentage of them.

  5. I love echinacea! It's hard to beat for its drought tolerance, appearance, and ease of growth. I like some of the new colorful hybrids - just not the ones that look like mutants. The birds love it here!

  6. Glenda, by all means write about the natives of Missouri. My posts are meant as a spark for more learned pieces.

    Jack, I wondered about the lack of Echinacea in Chicago, too. Maybe the writer of what I was reading was over-generalizing.

    It is used in folk medicine, vrtlarica. I haven't tried it. It makes me feel better just to see it in the garden.

    Dave, I prefer the plain 'purple coneflower' to the new colors and shapes, but there are some beauties to be had.

    Janet, I had some with aster yellows once. It was odd, they were plants I moved to a different area of the garden. I pulled those and none of the others were affected. I always try to pull anything that doesn't look 'right' before it spreads. Were the sick ones hybrids?

  7. They are suppose to be native to Ohio also but the only ones you see are on State property where people are not allowed to dig them, then it is mostly the gray hatted yellow ones.
    I love the plants myself and also all of the new ones that have come onto the market.

  8. While I like Echinacea, I love bee balm everything from the shaggy head to the scent. I guess that pretty much tells what I'd vote for, if I were a Chicagoan.

    I too prefer the purple colored coneflower, a traditionalist to the end.

  9. I have actually grown Echinacea when I lived in Phoenix. I it did very well. I have been thinking about trying some again...

  10. They've got my vote. For me, it's one of the happiest of all summer bloomers.

    I grew up in an area where coneflowers grew wild in the meadows. I probably have 4 dozen of them growing on this property. They're starting to like it here, so they are naturally reseeding. :)

  11. I love echinacea but it rarely lives more than 2 winters in my conditions. Tho herbally I use it especially in the wintertime.

  12. I love Echinacea! I've got it all over my yard and am always moving seedlings around or sharing them.
    I've never heard of nodding onion either.

  13. I love it. what a beautiful flower!

  14. Beautiful Echinacea pictures....I love them.

    This year, I would like to be able to concentrate more on flowers. We've been mostly working on veggie gardens since we moved here.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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